Today, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that Minnesota will receive $5 million in federal funds for the Northern Lights Express rail service.
Minnesota applied for the funds in April, and Governor Mark Dayton sent a letter to Secretary LaHood last week urging support and funding for the Northern Lights Express high-speed rail corridor. The Northern Lights express will be a high-speed intercity passenger service connecting Minneapolis to Duluth with 110-mph high-speed rail service.
In the letter, dated May 4, 2011, Governor Dayton said, "I have traveled to China on six separate occasions and each time, I marvel at their expanding network of High Speed Rail. As you know, in order for us to fully compete with the Chinese economy of tomorrow, it is imperative the United States begins to take this crucial step forward through development of a nationwide High Speed Rail system. We in Minnesota are ready to do our part."
Today's announcement, providing funds to complete engineering and environmental work for the Northern Lights Express line, is one of $2 billion in high-speed rail awards, covering projects in 15 states. Twenty-four states submitted nearly 100 applications for these funds.